Art Talk: Chinese Museums in the 21st Century
Noted scholar and curator James C. Y. Watt; former Director of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Chinese art historian Marc F. Wilson; and Asia Society Museum Director Melissa Chiu in conversation on how the understanding of Chinese art has changed over the past two decades in the United States and, more recently, in China.
In conjunction with Asia Week (March 14–22, 2014).
James C.Y. Watt is J.S. Lee Professor of Chinese Culture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Curator Emeritus of Asian Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was the Founding Curator of the Art Museum of the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 1971 to 1980, before becoming Curator of Asiatic Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1981. He joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1985, where he curated and cocurated major exhibitions and made acquisitions in Chinese and Central Asian art. He served as Brooke Russell Astor Chairman of Asian Art from 2000 until his retirement in 2011. His research interests cover Chinese art of all media, from the Han (206 BCE–220 CE) to Ming (1368–1644) periods.
Marc F. Wilson came to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in 1971 as Associate Curator of Chinese Art. He was named Curator of Oriental Art in 1973 and served as Menefee D. & Mary Louise Blackwell Director/CEO of the institution from 1982 to 2010. Wilson’s many publications include the exhibition catalogue Friends of Wen Cheng-Ming (1974), of which he was coauthor; the catalogue The Chinese Exhibition (1975), which he edited for the landmark Exhibition of Archaeological Finds of the People’s Republic of China, shown in Kansas City and San Francisco; Eight Dynasties of Chinese Painting (1980), a scholarly exhibition catalogue of which he was coauthor; and numerous articles published in journals including Apollo, The Connoisseur, Asian Culture Quarterly, and Museum (Tokyo). Wilson retired as the Museum's fourth director on June 1, 2010. As a dean of the art world, his advice and counsel are often sought on matters concerning museums, collecting, culture, and society in general.
Melissa Chiu (moderator) is Museum Director and Senior Vice President, Global Arts and Cultural Programs, Asia Society, New York, and responsible for overseeing the programming for the museum in New York and the Houston and Hong Kong centers. She was previously Founding Director of the Asia-Australia Arts Centre in Sydney (1996–2001). As a leading authority on Asian contemporary art, she has organized nearly 30 exhibitions of artists from across Asia including a retrospective of Zhang Huan, a survey of Yoshitomo Nara, and an exhibition of art from China’s Cultural Revolution.